Sunday Afternoon 3/11/2018

YaYu’s college notifications start arriving this week! She’ll hear from two colleges at the end of this week, from two more next week, and then the rest by the end of the month. The mood around here is cautiously hopeful, but we are stocking up on ice cream tomorrow (cookies ‘n’ cream and mint chocolate chip), chocolate sauce and whipped cream so we can either celebrate with her or help her drown her sorrows. Bowdoin College in Brunswick, ME remains her top choice, but the other schools she is waiting to hear from are Bates, Colby, Wellesley, Amherst, Smith, Colgate, Bryn Mawr, and Carleton. All are in cold, cold places! None of us have any idea whatsoever how it’s going to shake out, but I hope you’ll send lots of good thoughts her way. It’s going to be a very anxious few weeks for her (us too)!

One of several squalls we spotted out on the horizon last Wednesday. What the picture doesn’t show was how cold and windy it was, in spite of the surf having calmed down some.

Just like most places on the mainland (and otherwise), we’re eager for spring to arrive. We’ve had yet another cool, breezy, overcast, and rainy week here. Monday was gorgeous: warm weather, blue sky and sunshine, but I had a doctor’s appointment in the middle of the day so we didn’t really get to enjoy it much other than we got to spend a nice afternoon in Kilauea. The clouds were back by evening and the rest of the week went downhill from there. We didn’t even open the doors or windows on Thursday or Friday because it was so cold, but yesterday evening things began to clear our and it was lovely again for a while, but very cool again this morning. This has definitely been the coldest winter we’ve experienced since we’ve lived here, which has been great for walking. We know warmer weather is coming though (along with increased humidity). I always think to myself when the weather is like this that I’m glad I live here and didn’t spend thousands for a vacation only for us to be unable to go to the beach or have to deal with lots of red mud.

I consider myself a very healthy person, and doing all the right things (weight-bearing exercise, healthy eating and weight, enough daily calcium, etc.) so I was surprised (and a little scared) to learn this past week that I have beginning osteoporosis in one hip and in one place in my lower spine. The first call I got from the doctor’s office about the bone density scan said the results were good, but then a few days later I got a call that the doctor wanted to talk with me about the results. It turns out my scores for the hip and spine were right on the dividing line between actual osteoporosis and pre-osteoporosis (and the other hip was close). The doctor told me to keep doing what I have been but prescribed medication to see if the progression can be stopped, if not reversed somewhat. My mom and her mother both had “good bones,” but I don’t have any idea about my dad’s side of the family, or what I might have inherited from that direction.

This afternoon I am:

  • Reading: I finally finished Hamilton! Yeah! I’ve started Chinese Lessons: An American Mother Teaches her Children How to be Chinese in China by Patti Waldmeir. Waldmier, a single mom, became the Shanghai correspondent for the Financial Times, and lived there with her two daughters, both adopted from China, for around eight years. I’m finding it very relatable, both her feelings and experiences as an adoptive mother, and her children’s reactions to being adopted and attitudes toward China. Although all three of our very American girls are proud to be from China, speak Mandarin (fairly fluently), have visited China more than once and enjoyed their time there, they have absolutely NO interest in living there (well maybe YaYu, but that’s for the food).
  • Listening to: It’s been a quiet morning here other than there have been a couple of very loud roosters of and on out in the back yard. We haven’t started the laundry yet, and with just Brett and I here it’s been quiet inside – a taste of things to come? With the windows still closed there isn’t much noise from outside, but I can hear someone’s weed trimmer off in the distance.
  • Watching: Brett and I watched both seasons of Shelbourne Hotel this week, and of course now we want to go to Dublin and stay there, even if just for a night, or just to have tea. Last night we watched Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, and tonight we’re going to watch Coco with YaYu.
  • Cooking/baking: YaYu is making fried rice for us again tonight – we have leftover rice, and everything else we need (chicken, vegetables, and eggs). I baked a batch of ginger sugar cookies this past week to use up some molasses and spices and because the weather is cool, and there are still some of those around. On the menu this week is lumpia and potstickers along with rice; yakisoba with chicken; stuffed peppers; and grilled chicken (which we didn’t end up having last week).

    One of the old gravestones at the CME church in Kilauea. This young man drowned in 1888, at age 33.

  • Happy I accomplished this past week: I got a kitchen cabinet cleaned out this week – actually, I moved things around so that one cabinet now holds the dishes that will go into storage and another holds the things we are not keeping. When we were up in Kilauea on Monday for my doctor’s appointment, Brett and I finally stopped to visit the historic Christ Memorial Episcopal Church and cemetery. We usually turn the opposite direction from the church to head home, but are glad we took the time to visit the church and grounds – it was very interesting, especially the cemetery. In spite of the weather Brett and I got in five walks (and about got blown off the path on Friday!), I studied French every day, and drank lots and lots of water.
  • Looking forward to next week: Fingers are crossed for good news for YaYu, and for some nice, sunny weather! Maybe three weeks will be the charm and we’ll be able to get to the Stone Dam Trail this week.
  • Thinking of frugal things we did: Our movie watching was all free, courtesy of Amazon credit I earned from Swagbucks. Otherwise, it was just another regular week frugal-wise – nothing really stands out. It was another no-spend week except for the farmers’ market, and we put $9.00 leftover from there into the change/$1 bill jar.

    The Moloa’a Fruit Stand

  • Thinking of good things that happened: WenYu may have found a good summer job in Boston! It makes me sad she won’t be coming home this summer, but overall it will be good for her, and save all of us a lot of money. She’ll be able to stay with a friend there for the summer, so thankfully won’t have to worry about housing. Brett and I stopped at the Moloa’a fruit stand on the way home from Kilauea, and while they don’t make frosties any more, I did have a very thick and tasty papaya, pineapple and banana smoothie. YaYu is having a fabulous time at her Key Club convention – it’s on Maui this year!
  • Grateful for: Once again, I am very grateful for the prescription plan we have from our military insurance. It provides 90-days of medication, through the mail, at no or very, very low cost. The prescription service is fast, too. The doctor ordered my new medication on Monday, and I received it on Thursday (I could go to a local pharmacy if I needed it sooner though).

    Authentic Key lime pie is amazing. That is all.

  • Bonus question: Which do you like more: cookies, cake or pie? As I’ve said before, I am not a big sweets person these days but I do love a good piece of pie. I don’t think there’s any kind of pie I don’t like. My favorite fruit pie is cherry, I adore pecan pie, and I’m evenly divided between whether I like lemon meringue, banana cream, or Key lime pie more. The best piece of pie I ever had was a slice of banana cream at a restaurant called Perry’s in Portland. The pie had a wonderfully flaky crust, crushed pineapple and bananas under a luscious filling, and the whipped cream on top was perfect, and topped with toasted coconut. Every bite was amazing. Perry’s used to sell their pies, but I never saw that banana cream again (it probably sold out within minutes). My favorite cake is carrot cake, and my favorite cookie is anything with lemon, especially those ginger sandwich cookies with lemon filling. I can pretty much stay away from anything else though. I also love cobblers or crisps of any kind, maybe because they’re not as sweet as other desserts.

That’s all for this week!



20 thoughts on “Sunday Afternoon 3/11/2018

  1. JJ says:

    Hoping that YaYu gets good news this month. It’s definitely a nail biting experience waiting for those notices. I remember when my nephew went through that last year. Will she be able to visit any of them before she makes her decision?

    Cherry pie is my favorite fruit pie!


    • Laura says:

      No, no chances to visit beforehand, but like WenYu some of the schools might cover an admitted student visit. We really have no idea how she will do, and may be rejected by all. It’s so competitive these days.

      I also love a good peach pie!


  2. Libby says:

    Sending YaYu good energy for a 100% acceptance rate 🙂

    I spent the weekend in Brunswick and the snow piles in the store parking lots are 20 feet high. Another 6-12″ of snow coming Monday night/Tuesday for New England.

    WenYu will have an amazing summer in Boston. Kudos to her. I spent 11 years in Beantown and it is a fabulous place in which to be young.

    I, unfortunately, like almost all sweets but pie is my least favorite….except key lime pie.


    • Laura says:

      WenYu is always complaining about how cold she is, but she loves it. She said it makes her appreciate Hawaii all the more when she comes home. She really enjoys Boston and MA so far, and of course her boyfriend is there so I think she’ll have a great summer.

      I used to love sweets a lot more than I do now. I appreciate them now in small(er) does. Real Key lime pie is in a league of it’s own.


  3. Vivian says:

    I can’t have them anymore but I pretty much like all sweets. I have wild blackberry bushes on my land and I used to pick them and make a very good blackberry cobbler. My mother made a white cake with pineapple filling and seven minute icing with coconut on top and my birthday cake was always a triple layer chocolate cake.

    I hope YaYu get the college she wants.


    • Laura says:

      We had wild blackberries in our yard at the first house we lived in in Portland. I made cobbler all the time, and jam. Humiliating blackberries are everywhere in Portland – they’re considered an invasive species but they produce a LOT of fruit.

      You mom’s cakes sound delicious! My mom used to make apricot upside down cakes that I’ve never been able to duplicate – she never measured anything but they always came out perfect. I’d love to have a slice of that cake again.


    • Laura says:

      Hi Greg! I do remember that John went to Bowdoin! I wonder where he is now and what he’s been doing?

      I was sort of surprised when YaYu decided to apply to Bowdoin, but she did a LOT of research and felt a real connection with it, more than all the others. She applied Early Decision but was deferred, so all our fingers are crossed now that she’s accepted for regular decision. Actually though any one of the schools she’s applied to would be a great fit for her. Same for UH – they have a superb Asian language department.


  4. Laurel says:

    Wishing YaYu the best in her college news! Having grown up in big snow country, that feels more normal to me than heat and humidity. The cold & snow are easier to take when you’re young though. My perfect climate in No. California, but I can’t take the traffic and costs.

    I loved Three Billboards. Frances McDormand is fierce in whatever she does. Did you see the mini-series Olive Kitteridge? She takes one some tough roles. Such an amazing actress.

    Key Lime Pie is one of my all time favorites, followed closely by coconut cream. With the diet I’m on right now, I can’t eat anything really acid, so KLP is off the menu this spring. I’m really hoping to get back on that train soon. I don’t eat if often, but when it appears, I usually have some.

    Cemeteries are always on my list when we come across one in our travels. We drove around Maui to find Charles Lindbergh. Great spot, kinda weird guy now that I’ve read more about him. His hidden family in Germany was eye popping. And after reading The Aviator’s Wife, I can’t say he’s very admirable except for his flight accomplishments.

    While we were in Wisconsin to see Taliesin, we came across the cemetery with Allen Ludden’s grave in Mineral Point, so of course we had to stop. DH’s favorite stone said “HEAD” on it. He’s still chuckling over that one. My personal favorite is the quote I saw in the Old Southampton Cemetery while visiting my daughter in the UK: “She Hath Done What She Could”. I immediately made that my new motto.


    • Laura says:

      I think Brett and I are as nervous/excited as she is! WenYu only applied to four schools, and I thought she would be accepted at the two that rejected her, and vice versa with the two where she was accepted. So it shows what I know. We are all hopeful for Bowdoin, but after WenYu’s experience at Wellesley I have a soft spot for the women’s colleges for YaYu as well – they are so nuturing. Anyway, we’ll know soon.

      I became a Key lime pie expert during the two years we lived there. I enjoy coconut cream too, although I didn’t when I was young. Pecan pie is a real weakness for me – these days I don’t dare bring one in the house because I can (and might) eat all of it!

      The church and cemetery were both very worth stopping for – I’m planning a post about it this week. Kaua’i has several historic churches, founded by missionaries. You can debate the history of their influence in the islands, and their reasons for being here, but the churches are still interesting.

      Best tombstone quote we ever saw was the one in Key West: “I told you I was sick.” That’s another interesting cemetery to wander through – lots of history there. Same for the Pioneer Cemeteries in Portland. We used to visit the celebrity graves at Forest Lawn and other cemeteries when I was young, and my son took me to see Jimi Hendrix’s grave when we visited Seattle.

      And, Lindberg was a real piece of work. The book, The Plot Against America, by Philip Roth, Lindberg is president. It’s a very relevant book now.


      • JJ says:

        It’s not you, it’s the wacky admissions process. My nephew applied to 11 schools (a lot of them had free applications so might as well) and the ones we thought he’d get into, he didn’t, and the ones we thought he had no chance, he did. Sometimes I think colleges just throw darts at a board because the whole thing seems so random.

        I saw the “I told you I was sick” tombstone in Key West. Reading the sayings on tombstones in old cemeteries is always interesting. Now we just have the person’s name and birth and death dates, but back then they would tell you a little something about the person.


      • Laura says:

        I’ve read the dart board analogy for college admissions a few times before, and I agree. I have a friend who was the director of admissions at a liberal arts college and she said it was very, very stressful, deciding who and who would not be a good fit for the school (she’s since moved on to another college in a higher position). We only had to pay the application fee at one of the schools YaYu applied to (Colgate), and about half of them didn’t require test scores, so didn’t have to pay to send a lot of those off either. But who knows? I applied to five schools back when I was a senior, afraid I wouldn’t get accepted at any of them, and got accepted by all and then had to choose. Meiling applied to two, got accepted at one, waitlisted at the other, and then decided to go to UO back in Oregon, and WenYu only applied to four and got accepted at two. YaYu’s resume is as good or better than her sisters’, but who knows? At least the wait will be over soon.

        It was interesting to see all the information contained on the old gravestones, including information on how they died.


      • JJ says:

        I’m from upstate NY originally and only applied to SUNY schools because they were cheaper, but I wanted to go to Colgate. We couldn’t afford it, but it was (and still is) a great school. My nephew considered going there, but they don’t have his major (engineering). I’m glad to see that some colleges are no longer requiring test scores. I imagine working in admissions would be stressful. I don’t think I could do it!


      • Laura says:

        I’m not sure where she got the idea to apply to Colgate, but she did a LOT of research on different schools, and Colgate made the cut. It’s probably a big reach school for her though, but who knows these days? I loved her Colgate supplemental essay, about a tradition you would bring along to school with you. She wrote about the I Mua, the Hawaiian warrior call to “go forward with strength and perseverance.” She’ll hear from Colgate this weekend.

        My parents didn’t allow me to apply to a school in state, and I was probably the one kid in our family that should have stayed closer to home. I was NOT ready to go off on my own, or at least so far away from home, but they insisted that I needed to spread my wings and fly away out of state.

        I am glad that many school are not requiring applicants to submit test scores. I have always told my kids that their scores did not define them, and it seems some colleges are thinking that way too. YaYu only had to submit scores to Colgate, Wellesley, Amherst and Carleton.


  5. Tamara / My Retirement Project says:

    I well remember the month of March with each of our college bound daughters. I consider it the payoff for years of jobs well done, both by our daughters, as well as by their parents, who supported, schlepped, nagged and loved them for all those years to ensure they had choices upon graduation from high school. It was an extremely exciting month as a result, and I can’t wait to hear about all the acceptances I am sure YaYu will receive before month’s end!

    In our case, I remember our older daughter being accepted into UCSanDiego, where she was sure she would go until the very end of March, right around the 30th. On that day an envelope arrived from UCLA, and I could hear her shrieks of excitement all the way into the house from the mailbox where she stood. Poor UCSD got kicked to the curb in about one second flat.
    Really wonderful memories. 🙂


    • Laura says:

      YaYu would thrive at any one of these schools, but she would kick any one of them to the curb in a second for Bowdoin. For Brett and I though, it’s all about the financial aid they offer. So we’ll see – we think all would be a good fit for her. I know too she would love to be close to WenYu (who’s at Wellesley), so we were kind of surprised she decided to apply to Carleton in Minnesota. It’s a great school though.

      She got some good news re. a scholarship yesterday, so she’s on her way! It really is gratifying for us too, for all the time, effort, support and schlepping (and yes, nagging) and LOVE we provided along the way. The goal has always been to help them leave the nest and fly on their own, and it’s wonderful to see them take off (but also sad to see them go).


      • Kay says:

        Amherst will give great financial aid!

        She will excel no matter what! All of your children seem to have no problem achieving success. I wish her all the best.
        Anon in mass


      • Laura says:

        One of the reasons that YaYu applied to these schools is because they all give great financial aid. And, with three kids in college this year we will need it. Actually, the aid these schools give out makes them more affordable for us than the University of Hawaii. Amherst is not at the top of her list, but she still wouldn’t mind going there. She’s going to do well no matter where she goes!


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